So You Want to Hire a Product Marketer? Here Are Your Interview Questions




  • October 15, 2015

    You’re a founder, CEO, CMO, or marketing leader. Your business is growing like crazy, and you’re finding yourself with more on your hands than you can handle—you’re working long hours, sleeping less, and falling asleep with your never-ending to-do list cycling on your mind. You want to hire a mini-me, and the term “product marketer” comes to mind. But why? You sit down to write the job description, and an hour later, you still have a blank page.


    So let’s talk about what a product marketer actually is. This person is a high-level strategist who thrives on connecting dots. He or she will have knowledge in multiple subject areas, with a healthy mix of quantitative, analytical, and creative skills. Your future product marketer likely holds a totally different job title and may not be looking for a new gig. The result? This person is incredibly hard to find.



    Who is a product marketer? A high-level strategist who thrives on connecting the dots.


    When it comes to hiring an exceptional product marketer, it’s less about finding the perfect product marketing interview questions, and more about how they interact with you and others. Sure, you’ll want to have a solid set of product marketer interview questions on hand—but listen closely for the subtle yet profound information in their answers—to be extra confident that you’ve found that perfect fit for your team. Here are a few interview questions to keep in mind:


    1. Tell Us About Something That Made You Proud in Your Professional Life?


    Product marketers often operate in ambiguity, and they need to be ambitious as a result. An ideal product marketer will know how to connect dots strategically across departments and objectives, test and validate ideas, and come up with out-of-the-box approaches to solving problems—both tactically and inter-personally. More so, this person needs a sense of fearlessness.



    An ideal product marketer will know how to connect the dots strategically and come up with out-of-the-box approaches to solving problems.


    In addition to listening to what your interviewee is saying, pay attention to how they tell their story. Do they reference data-backed results? How do they measure success? What are some inflection points and moments of hesitation in their voice?


    This person will be a rising leader within your organization, and you’ll need someone who can truly “own it.”


    2. Tell Us How You Overcame Resistance to an Idea You Had?


    A successful product marketer must be a people person and a diplomat. While it’s critical that they can innovate with new ideas and identify areas of opportunity, this person needs to be equally as humble and empathetic to the needs and challenges among various teams involved in the execution of them. The last person that your team needs is a tyrant who tramples on everyone else, indifferent to their unique pain points and obstacles to success.


    Pay attention to the candidate’s word choices. Is this person coming across as hostile? Stressed? How do they describe the needs of others on the team? Are they a finger pointer, or do they fully own their role in the tension that inevitably faces a product marketer? Does their previous office environment sound like a frat house, and did they add to the drama or navigate around it?


    Look for signals of empathy, humility, diplomacy, and good judgment. These traits will be critical to your company’s product marketing strategy.


    3. Describe a Time that You Taught Yourself Something in Your Previous Role?


    Product marketers need to be masters of overcoming learning curves without any hand-holding. An ideal interviewee will demonstrate a fierce hunger for knowledge and appreciation for experimentation. This person will have developed systematic ways of testing new ideas and will fight hard to overcome friction.



    Hiring a product marketer? Look for signs of persistence, resourcefulness, balance, and positivity


    Look for signs of persistence, resourcefulness, balance, and positivity. Product marketers deal with a lot of failed experiments and internal drama, so it’s important that they enjoy the ride and maintain perspective.


    Your product manager should be an optimist, an amazing storyteller, and an expert communicator. When sourcing direct answers, look for signs of an exceptional human being who you and your team wouldn’t mind hanging out with at happy hours.

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